This post is connected to my previous post on Arnhem since they happened during the same visit. As I was staying over the weekend during my working trip, I asked the Dutch guys about interesting places to visit nearby, and the names of Volendam and Markem came up, since they could be visited in a day trip from Arnhem.

Being the Dutch newbie that I was, I took up their suggestion and advice on getting to Volendam. And so the weekend found me taking the train to Amsterdam and catching a bus to Volendam (Bus 312 or 316 runs from Amsterdam Central Station to Volendam and back with a travel time of roughly 35 minutes each way). It was a foggy day and wasn’t really good for sight seeing, but I wasn’t going to let that spoil the day for me.

The fishing village of Volendam with its quaint wooden buildings.
The fishing village of Volendam with its quaint wooden buildings. You will find many shops catering to the tourist crowds along the waterfront.
Even the residences are built in the same traditional way.
Even the residences are built in the same traditional way.
Oh look! A Lego house.
Oh look! A Lego house.

Volendam was a port and fishing village, but nowadays it caters mainly to the tourist crowds. I found many shops selling souvenirs and restaurants serving Dutch food, especially along the waterfront. But walk a bit inland and you can still find some interesting shops and houses.

There are many old sailing ships along the harbor to remind you of Volendam's past as a fishing port.
There are many old sailing ships along the harbor to remind you of Volendam’s past as a fishing port.

After a couple of hours in the foggy weather trying to see as much of Volendam as possible, I took the ferry to Marken. It’s a short boat ride, but in the fog I couldn’t really see what’s ahead.

Entering Marken Island's harbor. It was so foggy that I couldn't see what's ahead.
Entering Marken’s harbor. It was so foggy that I couldn’t see what’s ahead.
Finally the boat stopped at Marken Island.
Finally the boat stopped at Marken Island.

Marken is more of the same as Volendam, though more remote. I could see some of the residents dressed in traditional Dutch costumes. Although because of the foggy and cold weather, there weren’t many residents outdoors.

Grandma in traditional Dutch dress.
Grandma in traditional Dutch dress.

Originally an island, Marken is now connected to the mainland by a dike and causeway. It’s main attraction is it’s quaint houses and traditional dress worn by some of the residents. But that’s about it to see in Marken.

The houses of Marken.
The houses of Marken.
Over the years, the residents built dams to prevent floods from the sea. You can see here that the sea level is higher than the land that the houses are built on.
Over the years, the residents built dams to prevent floods from the sea. You can see here that the sea level is higher than the land that the houses are built on.

Overall, I felt that Volendam is a nice for a day visit, but it’s quite touristy. If you are sick of the big city feeling in Amsterdam, then this might a good respite. For Marken, I wasn’t too impressed, maybe because of the fog which made the day miserable. Going to an island just to see houses and traditional dress doesn’t really appeal to me. I did do a lot of souvenir shopping in Volendam though and I made my way back to Arnhem loaded with anything Dutch.

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